A ‘banner night’ for Westborough athletics

Members of Westborough’s volleyball, girls basketball teams honored

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A ‘banner night’ for Westborough athletics
The new state championship banner (middle). (Photo/Evan Walsh)

WESTBOROUGH – Banners were unveiled and titles were won at Westborough High School on Wednesday night.

While the Westborough Rangers girls basketball team beat league-rival Fitchburg High School, 72-43, to win a share of the Midland-Wachusett League Division B title, the school’s volleyball team celebrated the unveiling of the team’s 2023 championship banner at halftime. 

The 2023 Westborough volleyball team went 19-1 on the season – including going undefeated in league action – to become back-to-back MIAA Division 2 state champions. After cheering for their classmates throughout the first two quarters of the basketball game, the volleyball players assembled on the court to receive commemorative plaques. Before long, the team unveiled the banner, which had previously been draped in black cloth. 

“[The banner] means I’ve got some really great kids and some great assistant coaches – I stand by that. I feel very lucky to be able to coach kids great enough to achieve those things,” said Westborough Volleyball Head Coach Roger Anderson. “I loved every minute of [the season], and I’m proud of the girls. I recognize it doesn’t happen all the time, and I’m proud of all the teams I’ve ever coached. The kids work really hard.”

The team’s season finished Nov. 18 after defeating Canton 3-0 in the championship. The Rangers were led by Quinn Anderson, Roger’s daughter, who became back-to-back Gatorade Massachusetts Volleyball Player of the Year shortly after the season ended. Westborough didn’t drop a set in the month leading up to the title. 

Westborough’s basketball team showed the same sort of dominance in Wednesday’s game.

After pulling ahead 24-7 in the opening quarter of action, the Rangers never looked back and continued to pile on. The scoring came from every direction; Ava Nolin tallied 9 points, Kate Sams added 16 points and Rachel Carpenter scored 15, including three 3-pointers. While everybody scored, it was Annabelle Semeter – a senior captain on both the volleyball and basketball teams – who led the team, totaling 20 points. 

Semeter was on “double duty” for the night, leaving the basketball team at halftime to partake in the volleyball banner unveiling, but the night was special nonetheless for the 5’10” shooting guard, who will continue her athletic career at Hamilton College.

“[Tonight is] honestly great because it’s like my two families coming together for one big celebration – celebrating both volleyball and basketball. It’s just a nice little intersection between my two families,” Semeter told the Community Advocate. 

After starting the year slow, the basketball team caught fire down the stretch, going on an almost month-long undefeated run that included eight games. With the playoffs imminent, the Rangers are coming together at the perfect time.

“I thought it was a beautiful team win. The ball movement that they had – the unselfish playing today – just made it such a team win. It was really good to see,” Westborough Basketball Head Coach Erin Studivan said after the game. 

“We’ve been working on playing as a team and taking the right shot, not the quickest shot. I feel like we’ve actually been implementing that in our games. We were passing the ball, moving it,” Semeter said.

But even after the Rangers’ title-clinching victory, there was still more to celebrate. The game was Westborough’s Senior Night, and the team’s four seniors – Deeksha Kapoor, Sams, Semeter and Nolin – were honored at a post game ceremony. The seniors, joined by their families, were recognized by teammates at midcourt.

“This group… always brought everything they had to practices and games and also balanced that with insanely challenging class schedules. I’m not sure how they do it, but the fact they’re able to come into practice and games and be focused and ready I think all four of them are great role models for all future varsity athletes,” Studivan said.

And although Westborough’s season is still very much alive – and there’s still much to play for – the seniors seemed to appreciate the team’s farewell gesture. 

“I’m honestly so grateful for everyone to be there for me. I have this opportunity to play with all these amazing people [and] be coached by an amazing staff who all care so much about every individual player. It’s really a great environment,” said Semeter.

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